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Couple shows care for troops

April 21, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Nancy Burral is supporting the troops in Iraq by sending 19 care packages containing 114 rolls of toilet paper, along with junk food, soap and other items, to her daughter's battalion in or near Iraq.

Mary Burral, 24, is a specialist in the 54th Engineers Battalion, trained to build roads and do other work that may be needed to rebuild parts of Iraq after the war, said her father, George Burral.

Burral, who graduated in 1996 from Boonsboro High School, decided in January 2001 to join the Army.

Her daughter treated the decision to join the Army as "a new adventure," Nancy Burral said.

Her parents met some of Burral's battalion at basic training and on other occasions.

When she was assigned to work in Germany a few weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, her mother began to send care packages, and her daughter would share the cookies and other items with others.

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When Burral was transferred to Kuwait in February, her mother kept sending the care packages, with one popular item being baby wipes, which soldiers use to wash themselves since they don't have showers where they are stationed.

Nancy Burral says she can't send care packages just for her daughter when she still can picture the faces of other battalion members. So she sends plenty of supplies knowing that her daughter will share, she said.

In her most recent letter to her mother in mid-March, Mary urged her to keep sending the goods.

Nancy Burral asked others to help her, mentioning the care packages to friends, relatives and others.

Near the cash register at Kipe's Upholstery Shop on Longmeadow Road, where she does bookkeeping and sewing work, she put up a sign asking customers to help the troops by donating money or products for care packages.

Friends and strangers alike responded to her request and soon their living room was so full of donated goods that they could not even sit on the couch, she said.

The Burrals started sending packages and have no plans to stop anytime soon.

They have sent a total of 825 items so far, with shipping costs of $205, Nancy Burral said.

She suspects people are donating because it is a way they can take some action to show support for the troops, she said.

"They don't know what else to do," she said.

Some of the boxes include Burral's favorite treat, peanut butter truffles, even though they probably melt en route.

"It will probably be a solid glob of chocolate," but Nancy Burral suspects her daughter still enjoys the treats.

After living off military food, the chance to eat something special is probably hard for battalion members to resist, George Burral said.

While their daughter is involved in the war, her parents said they are glad her unit is in a supporting role rather than in combat. But that doesn't mean they are worry-free.

Nancy Burral said she is thinking about her daughter from the moment she wakes up until she falls asleep at night, and even then she sometimes dreams about her.

But some of those thoughts are positive as they reflect on how proud they are of their daughter, George Burral said.

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